Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Fitness is an exercise in Greatness.

     Too often, people come to me asking how they can lose 30 pounds or the last 10, and they begin to transfix their thoughts around these numbers, how many crunches they can do in a minute and what the best exercise is to tighten and lift their derrieres. What's the skinniest food with the least amount of calories that will still make me feel happy? How much weight can be lost to get me to a size two?

    It's been said, but bears repeating. You are exercising greatness whenever you put on those shoes and your resolve. Period. Every time you squat, walk faster, drink more water or lift a weight, you are placing a meditation on your best self and physically speaking an intention into existence whenever you go through the act of becoming that better you. Having said that, even though most of us fitness professionals always profess to have that goal in mind, the act of working through that goal must be challenging and fun to conquer.

     Do you like feeling stronger? Did you feel good knowing you ate a healthy meal? Did you enjoy spending time trying on a new fitness outfit? It's all about the expansion of greatness that grows inside you, everytime you stick to the plan and follow through.

      I remember after I had my baby, that moment of panic. I immediately replaced that with a welcoming solution in how I would begin my weight loss goal. After that moment I smiled during all of my workouts and felt so exceedingly proud at myself for achieving the goal which was to lift something, every day. In short, exercising your greatness, and knowing that you are better with every breath, step, squat, lift and veggie, is what makes you what you want.

Light Day Workout...And not at the gym.

     All you really need is a pair of good shoes and a kettlebell. That's it. Okay, you also need a little bit of motivation. But then that's it. I think most people think you have to go through some incredible strains to get your exercise needs met. But not really. You just need to want to do it, on some level of your being. If it takes a cup of Bulletproof coffee to get you going, so be it. Just make sure you get up and do it.

     The winter holiday season is always a long-awaited time for me. It signals the end of the year and all of its goings-on, but it also establishes a sense of comfort in knowing I can sit down with a hot cup of something, usually tea when I begin writing, and I compile a list of notes, thoughts and documentation of the work I do, from physical training to energy work. It tells of the entire body of work for the year. It also spells a moment or two in which I go into the dark night of the soul. In order to keep myself from digging too deep into the muck and mire, I usually stop myself and head out for some depression-relieving sunshine.

     I don't like to be cooped up in the gym everyday, but it is my sanctuary. I go in to get work done and I leave out. There is enough drama there to have me consider never going in, but I would not let anything stop me from attaining my fitness goals. In celebration of the fact that we have sunny skies and mostly clean, fresh air to breathe, a walk sounds good for the soul.

     And so I go, lacing up my shoes and heading out. On my path I run headlong into a park, where I grab some earth and deeply reground. At this point I consider finding a yoga class but realize I am the class. I perform my class then and there, complete with some hip openers, then I head back home. At home I grab my kettle and begin.

Here are some hip openers with Tara Stiles. This is pretty much what I do to open my hips. This should be a video of me, as soon as I shoot one. Motivation for 2014.

Performed with a 25 pound kettlebell...
300 swings, 1 or 2 hand (not all at once, crazies)
3 sets of 10 cleans on each side
3 sets of 10 clean and presses
around the world (swing the kettle around your tree trunk stance of a body)
Lateral swings (10 each way, 1-2 sets)
60 swing squats (swing the bell as you squat. Powerful fun...)

...That's a long routine, but since I'm on vacation, I have a little more time on my hands (and feet).

The Three Hour Workout. Nonsensical but Awesome.

     I worked out for three hours yesterday. It started out innocently enough, with my desire to do a really bomb session. But I noticed it became longer and longer. It didn't even have to, but I ended up trying a number of new exercises that I love now and will incorporate into my next class session to keep it fresh. There's so much out there to experiment with that it's worth it to keep researching and trying new things. Your body will not regret the changes you put it through.

It began with a 20 minute run, a yoga session in the park, and a 30 walk back to the house...followed by Mike's class which I ended up teaching, because I found all these awesome Indian club exercises. I ran them through some new kettlebell progressions and offered a fancy wall hip stretch.

The Indian club exercises were effectively done with two five pound dumbbells. They reminded me of my old short flag exercises. The funny thing is that I had no idea how awesome these exercises were at strengthening my shoulders and upper back quadrant. I mean, of course I felt the pain of a long flag twirling practice, but it did not occur to me how rehabilitative these exercises prove to be as I progress through.

I'm learning a lot of the moves through this awesome survivalist/naturalist/nutrivore and trainer called Zenkahuna, and he works with Coach Tara. They both have pretty awesome channels and give a visual demonstration of a progression using a variety of tools, in this case, the Indian clubs.

This is free advertising for this guy. ...You're welcome. You're awesome.

Here's another video that continues to explain clubs.

Anywho, after going through those changes, Zenkahuna also brings to me this very awesome set of practices that offer a flowing kettlebell sequence that definitely takes the practitioner into all planes of motion with the bells. 

After having done all three sessions, the next day's planned workout...at least a walk, didn't happen. Had I been able to move, it may have happened.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Tonight's post-Vegas Fasting workout.

Who fasts while in Vegas??!?? ...I kind of did.

It wasn't really my intention. But I sort of just didn't eat. I don't know exactly why, but it seemed to be the thing to do. I mean after all, we weren't there to ruin our girlish and boyish figures, but instead to have fun. And right in the midst of learning to do a new thing with my fasting, was not the proper time to even come to Vegas. So I made the best of it. I also made a new decision to find a similar stride next time, as the food options at the Luxor were slim pickings.

The continuation of my food commentary is in Chronicles Of Food blog.

Apparently Vegas doesn't lift, bro. But at the same time, it does, if we wanted it that way. I just never seem to want to find the time to do a good lift while on vacation. And Michael insists that we don't travel with our kettles because of the weight and gas money on lugging it around. Besides, I don't know of many people who are willing to spend their hard-earned free time off work on weightlifting, even if it is at the core and lifeblood of our existence. But let's not get too crazy here, and allow ourselves to establish a vacation as exactly that.

Having said that, here's a 10 x 10 workout that I put together while reading an email from Pat Flynn, who speaks kettlebell-ese and biomechanical sense. He says that a basic lift program can be based on the 6 or so movements of the body that we need with some regularity. In this program we pull, grind, press, rotate, create locomotion, squat, lunge and use our abs in multifunction exercises. This about covers basic functional anatomy. From my NASM training I believe in working the entire body CTBSL style (chest, triceps, back, bicep, shoulders and legs) with multijoint exercises, throwing in some additional abdominal work for ego. Yoga works from the six ways the spine moves for greater daily health (forward, backward, sideways, transverse rotation on both sides.) And now finally kettlebells encourage greater metabolic conditioning, rehabilitation and mobility from all planes of motion, initially in the sagittal plane, and then beyond.

What I'm really trying to get to is two things. One, if you exercise in all planes of motion or six movements of the spine, whatever terminology best assists the explanation, you will find yourself doing an easily inhabitable and efficient workout routine, complete in minutes. ....Or, well, you get the idea.

10-2 hand swings
10-1 hand swings
10 deadlifts
10 lunges with rotation
10 squat thrusts for locomotion
10 kettle ups (I call it a get up sit up) Or a bar up with the body bar.

....It was a nasty, gnarly climb to the finish, but we got our 300 reps and well quite frankly, if you want to do some crazy awesome and challenging metabolic workouts for a while that get you nice cardio surge, follow this plan. It's good.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Bestest Students Turned Workout Buddies In The World!!!

Well it just so happens that I have had the beautiful joy of training two lovely ladies who have stayed very devoted to me throughout the course of my teaching at World Gym, and it has been an amazing adventure to see them grow as much as they have. I felt like shouting out to the best gym buddies I've ever had. They have been hard working, motivated and consistent with their workouts to the point of such deep loyalty, that I can see this sisterhood continuing for a long time. Not only that, their physiques have changed so dramatically that past pictures of when they started with me, don't even compare! They had singlehandedly kept my class open all these years and what a wonderful blessing they've been.

Jessy was looking for a different kind of fitness, one that didn't keep her in the gym all night, because it wasn't her first choice for after work entertainment! She also didn't really want to be bothered with me pushing to make her do one more squat. It was just the last thing she wanted to do. And then it happened: the gym bug bit her hard, and she blossomed into this woman who ventured out onto the floor with us. Once she did that, within the space of a year, she was lifting just about as much as we were!! What a shock to our systems to see such dramatic and impressive strength gains in such a short time! But she did it, her discipline and resilience grew, and she is better than ever.

Kelly had weight to lose. When she came back into the gym, she was so energetic and ready to move! But diet and exercise had previously failed her, and she was looking for a change that would stick. With only a little convincing and a lot of self determination, Kelly turned her fitness gains around with warp speed and precision! Almost two years had passed. Kelly had lost quite a bit of weight, but the girls were able to handle their workout well now. So I dragged Kelly first onto the workout floor for heavy lifts, then Jessy. One by one, they came in for their bruising! Kelly to this day has lost over 65 pounds, an incredible accomplishment! She is one of my biggest supporters, and along with Jessy, intensely believes in the power of what we can do as a Smash Team, wrecking the floor with our hardwork, resilience and discipline. We're also kind of loud on the gym floor. It's only a further testament to how fun lifting can actually be with the right team!

I was also looking for a different angle on my fitness. During the time I started teaching there, I met Michael, and we began dating and swapping workouts. He was a big motivator behind my finding kettlebells to be my main source of workout nourishment anymore. The dynamic intensity of kettlebells sold me, and I passionately pursued the education needed to teach the girls. So in a way, we grew up together all of us, on the bells. Loving the change it brought to my body, mind and spirit, I got my first certification in kettlebell training and was super excited that I was one of the few selected for my certification! Now I lift heavier than ever, and my body is really showing the progress and determination I have towards my goal of looking somewhere between a goddess and a fitness competitor.

Teaching these two were the most valuable things that could have happened to our fitness, all three of us! When we look at ourselves in the mirror, we notice what an incredible impact we've made on each others' lives, and I couldn't be more grateful (or fitter) for this moment.

The Great Destroyer of Kelly and Connie.


I realize I haven't written in my exercise blog in a long while, but it does not mean to say that I haven't been creating some killer workout combinations. So far my Smash wrecking team has gotten into lots of troubles with a kettle. But we've also been experimenting with some primal workouts, handstands and a little bit of yoga madness. I keep forgetting to incorporate more yoga into the workout, but for all the many other ideas I had for that same session. Sometimes I like to call myself over-ambitious.

Kelly, Jessy and I have been getting into the gym hardcore style as usual but got a little bit soft for a couple of weeks due to some crazy scheduling. I was running back to back in the weeks before and after Halloween, then my birthday. It was a lot of fun let me tell you, including the teaching of a new series of dance classes, but I keep changing my tune on what I want to continue teaching. Ultimately I like my freedom outside of the 8 hour academic gig, and that is what probably keeps me from locking up all my evenings anymore. I don't like it when too many activities get in the way of my lifting. Nothing should come between me and my lifting schedule.

I also noticed that, with the heavy schedule of the last few weeks, I did not have enough to muster a heavy lift, so I did more maintenance lifts, due to excessive dancing! Now that I have more of that into balance, I have reintroduced smaller chunks of lift sessions, as I am also reading that I could very well be overtraining (as usual). I may have pushed my metabolic pedal one too many times, and I need to watch that, now that I seem to have things relatively under control.

I did an awesome 10 x 10 x 10 workout with Kelly on Sunday, the Great Destroyer on Monday, and a 10 set, 210 rep leg press session. The workouts have been daily but shorter. I may actually take a day off of the gym today (which is wednesday), and do a 10 minute long cycle with a 25 lb. kettlebell.

Sunday's 10 x 10 x 10: Kelly and I performed 10 reps of an exercise, followed by each additional exercise with no rest until the last exercise. You end up with 300 reps.

10-2 hand swings
10-1 hand swings
10-squat thrusts
10-lunge with rotation
10-weight-loaded ab exercises (we did this cool multi-move complex I made up with a 24 lb body bar. It's a little heavy for mere mortals.)

Monday's Great Destroyer of Kelly and Connie (two kettle complex)

10-double swings

....Now try that three times!!! You won't like it. No one does.

Tuesday's Leg Press Complex of Doom

Set 1-3: 30 presses with 180 lbs
Set 4-6: 20-30 presses with 270 lbs
Set 7-9: 15-20 presses with 430 lbs

...Nobody does it better...and no one walks better...than after the last three days. I'm almost thinking that, even if I do feel up to the challenge, I should take this day as one of rest, because Thursday's gonna hurt. I'm just saying.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Who Invented Sunday workouts?? Not this girl.

And then there were two hours of what was a normally relaxing Sunday afternoon.

Let's see if I can remember what kettle Hell I put Kelly and I through....

We warmed up with a long set of

10 swings, 5 cleans, 5 clean and press. Switch sides.
12 front racked squats (6 each side).
5 shoulder presses each side, then 7 forward leans each side.
12 front racked squats.
Around the world (slingshot) 20 times each side.
Alternate it 10 times each side. (push it back in the opposite direction, bring it tummy level. This one hurts.)
7 high pulls each side.

We threw one minute plank test in for entertainment, a total of three minutes of hardstyle planking, as my certification would call it.

...And that was the first set without any breaks.

Next set to follow two minutes later: the snatch prep.

1 swing, 1 high pull, 1 snatch (3 sets), pass it to the next side.
Then, 5 continuous snatches and pass to the next side.


...then I decided to take us through a one minute snatch test on each side, with positive and negative snatch movement intact, no racking. We did a total of 21 snatches on each side with no rest and in 51 seconds. We started to give out right around that 45 second mark. It was grueling, but I could see us training into higher numbers with our performance. I hadn't even considered nitpicking form today. It was more about pulling in high numbers. I'll correct form in tomorrow night's session.

Next was one arm, one leg kettle planking practice, correcting form through hip placement.
We kind of wanted to kill each other by this point, but we pressed on. I had a whole second total body program to run, and run it we did. When I run the floor I follow my NASM cert guidelines, bringing the worlds of both my HKC and NASM certs together in one grueling session:

CTBSL (chest, tricep, back, bicep, shoulders, legs).

Kettle chest press with 30 and 35 (12 reps and 2 sets)
Overhead tricep press (25 pounds)
kettle rows with 30 and 35
reverse flye with 25s
Gorilla curls with 25 and 30
deadlifts with 40 and 45

Okay so then the fun really began when we decided to jerk 40 and 45 3 times each side, much to our surprising success! Afterwards we racked two kettles and took a lap around the gym, adding in 5 squats. I think this finished us for sure at that point. Yeah. I just wanted to eat a house after that. I think I did...

Post workout drink: strawberry spinach walnut smoothie with date sugar and lemon juice

Later on, I consumed:

2 slices of Ezekiel bread with avocado mayo
Vegan Celebration Field roast, two slices
lots of water

About 3 hours later, I had a piece of wild caught snapper and a big bowl of sauteed green cabbage. I forgot to have my tomato with my fish. It has been my favorite latest quirky thing to do, almost as quirky as buying a sprouted grain bread you haven't touched in months, just because you made an avocado mayo that you can't find a marriage partner for. Grains and avocado 1, Connie 0.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

June 1 Retrospective: The HKC Victory.

Of 30 participants, I made it.

The day was plenty grueling. The test consists of several major elements: the swing, the get up, and the goblet squat. The two instructors, Andrew Reade and Joe Chalakee, both senior RKC instructors, were excellent and gifted instructors, showing us a very promising finish to a rather grueling day of pushing the gamut, so to speak.

We started with an eloquently executed progression that began with the proper alignment for a dead lift. We learned the difference between the pull and the grind. (Pulls are great for metabolic conditioning and endurance, grinds good for resistance training and strength gains, lower body building.) Using sticks to keep the spine completely in alignment and the tailbone lower than the head, is an important step in attaining the 45 degree angles for training that need to be maintained during the exercises. We had a great time building the dead lift and then doing successive exercises with good mornings, dragging the kettle into dead swings and full 2-hand swings.

I had a very entertaining workout partner who had this absolutely gorgeous body, but was too stiff to perform the exercises with grace and fluidity...more proof that the perfect physique is not necessarily anatomically and functionally useful. It was also proof that most people improperly train their bodies, often missing out on the professional help that makes them safe and structurally sound. This staves off injury.

Quite possibly a million reps later, we learned a proper plank, which took me back to my early days of training where we almost clench the flutes and place our heels right next to each other, right and flowing with the natural curve of our spines, drawing everything in so tight that someone could have kicked me and I would have stayed solid. It was awesome....ly hard.

And now even more surprising was that I had been doing the get up a shadow off what it really is supposed to be, but was shown a kicksafe structure that withstood the test of any heavy force coming upon me...a triangular pyramid shape that holds strong, just like a building built on a triangular base. It made a lot more sense than what I was doing before.

Lunch came and went, but I couldn't eat too much because of the examination that was coming. They basically expected perfection, and they were going to get it.
But I was SOOOO SORE!! Oh wow, I don't think I had been fatigued like that since the marathon days...luckily for me, I restate that I was one of the 6 out of 30 who actually made it through. Everyone else had to send in a video of their corrections. Thank goodness I had been practicing.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Yoga is NOT just for stillness.

I know. Before I hear it for posting about something as slooooow as yoga, let me tell you something.

It's anything but...and yet it's stillness training.
(Because after all that difficult work, all you want to do is be still.)

I think the stillest thing about yoga, is that you have to sit and listen for your breath. You also have to find the patience to take in all those deep breaths and patterns...most importantly you have to deal with the energy that builds and releases around this practice. But once you've established that, you begin the physical practice.

A strong yogic practice that I conduct begins with pranayama and meditation. The prana, or breath, is the energy we use to live. If not established, we will suffer and die. Well, eventually, not immediately. But if we aren't breathing, we are definitely running down our experience of life. We are taking in less of life than we truly need, and eventually begin to feel fatigue, illness or disease filling the body. So we need to breathe.

Next,  the physical practice warms and lifts and builds the bodily processes until there is a strong flow of energy towards the middle of the practice session. Once you get through those first few sun salutations, the body begins to feel really open and fresh. You are wringing out the tissues, building synovial fluid in the joints, and in combination with the breathing, building a sense of ease in the body. It opens the fascia and connective tissues in order to release emotional and physiological energy and information that gets stored in the tissues. You may feel a deep sense of release, pain, memory or simple relief come about as a result of practice. You may even feel sad, angry or tired, depending on your experience.

At this point, when I'm teaching, after the body is relaxed, I give you balance postures, open the heart, the hips and I turn you upside down, to gain new perspective. After which, relaxation sets in and hopefully a deep sense of peace is felt.

If you do enough sun salutations, from the western perspective and way of life, it will rock you into stillness, which is the ultimate goal of yoga. This is so much so, that when you spend time in this yogic state, you will find yourself being able to meditate more and more....

If not, keep practicing...

The moments that take your breath away.

Man, I could list a bunch of moments that have taken my breath away.

...Kai, my son, telling me that he has found his calling, and wants to draw for a living.
...My boyfriend Michael calling me on the phone. The phone!! That is magical, and unheard of.
...Seeing myself for the first time as super strong and lean, looking more and more like I lift, bro.
...Jessy lifting a 35 and 40 over her head, half pint...and Kelly doing the same, though I expect it of her.

...Sina my close friend (who doesn't have any besties) laughing her head off and smiling. What a joy.
...Valerie, one of my besties who will let me call her that, finishing my logo. I love it.
...Going to HKC and being 1 of the 6 that passed, out of 30.
...Being able to work out for 2 and 3 hours at a time without so much as passing out.

...The magic of receiving whenever I ask the Universe for something.
...Seeing how magnificently smart and handsome my son is.
...Becoming more clear about my life purpose, and getting work done around it.
....Being more productive.

...Finding more love for my animal brethren.
...Going to bed at night!!
...Establishing a regular cooking habit, and cooking for the family without complaints.
...Unconditionally loving my man and my son. Seriously. Never thought I'd get there.
...Establishing a regular schedule to work out with frequency.

...Building a business out of my passion for fitness and health.
...Finishing a health coaching program and learning a ton around it.
...Stacking up many goals and meeting them.

And how could I leave out this moment of breathlessness, where my friend Madlen (whom I would consider a bestie) daringly jumped in a car with me to Vegas, partnered up in business development crime, and just decided to share her incredible photography and do headshots that came out better than I could ever have hoped for.

But the moment that takes my breath away the most, is how many people truly appreciate me and let me know this with regularity. I can't thank them enough.

Pulling and Grinding 40s.

I cannot wait until we build our own gym.

If only for the purpose of holding the most awesome classes ever, and having a huge set of kettlebells, then so be it. I know what I have to do tonight: dream. Since I have my HKC certification, and I am planning my RKC certification, I have to be ready for this moment, and I mean completely ready. I need to put my information on my website and make building my client base a priority, one that has already been in full effect. Gotta take it to the next level.

So, I'm in the gym right? And I am suddenly inspired by one of the videos I have seen from one of my favorite guys I subscribe to, Pat Flynn. How do you pave a way in this market? You get yourself qualified and put yourself on blast. Good blast. So anyway I'm looking at all these videos. And while I don't subscribe to every move I see, some of them really make great sense. I take the ones that seem the most fun, interesting and challenging to perform.

So I'm watching this pretty cool progression, and I know there is a systematic way at which you are to attack the scenario, but I decide to do it my way.

So I get 5 bells: 25, 30, 35, 40, 45.

I begin with two swings, one clean, 2 front squats, and one thruster, all left hand, 25 pounds.
Next, I go up to 30 and with my right hand, same thing, all repeated.
And so on.

I did the same with double swings (swing clean press combo), high pulls (3 reps each side up and down the chain) and single and double snatches. Let me just say that it was a freaking tough set to pull, but we did it. Even my little one, who's become super strong with her lifts. Jessy is crazy strong! I am proud to be training her. Hopefully she remembers me after she wins her first kettlebell meet.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Saturday morning.

I've just found out that I love speak text. This helps me to write a moving blog in my car!! The best part about it is that I did not have time this morning to sit down and write a blog, so being able to speak into a phone and spread my blog love is more than amazing. Ain't technology grand? I'm still waiting for the phone that I don't have to hold, whose speaker sounds crystalline. But I digress.

As I packed my bags this morning for the training, all I could think about was how I should have done it the night before. I thought about how I should have gotten gas in the tank before, How my vitamins should have been laid out, how my nutritional intake should have been ready to go. And of course, as it goes on every day of the week, once again, none of these things were done… But lucky for me, I am able to move quickly to get to my destination. Funny thing is, I forgot to eat!! I guess that's why I ate carbohydrates last night, and attempted to preload my muscles. I am pretty sure that I am not going to be nutrient deficient in the least bit…

Today is definitely going to be one of those days where by the end of the day, I will probably post three more blogs with conversation about the exciting highlights.

I will be reporting on everything from the chalk and tape and gloves that will not be on my hands, to the impressive responses from my coaches and peers. Okay, now I'm really daydreaming!! Okay. Now let's get busy. I'll be talking out my phone soon. I'm thinking that I write better than I speak…

Almost there.

So this week was nothing short of interesting. It consisted of more days of rest than I am usually accustomed to. I tried my pull-ups at the beginning of the week, and then allowed it to be exactly what it was going to be. I know that things can't be perfect, but I would sure as heck like them to be. That was the main motivator for my taking two days off this week. I didn't want to train so hard that I was completely shot, and had no energy left for performance day, which is Saturday. 
In addition to rest days, I noticed that I had a particular longing for carbohydrates. Now in recent days past, I had not had any particular taste for grain carbs. Brown rice however, made with coconut oil, was definitely on my agenda for the week. This followed Potatoes, and a multitude of very fresh and delicious cherries and green grapes. Then I noticed myself craving bananas, oranges, and grapefruits. I made my water with limes and lemons, and by the end of it all, I realized what was happening. I was loading for my performance today. Somewhere in my head, I was hoping this would help. I was hoping my intuition was serving me well…

Because of my long week, I had failed to do the one thing that I probably needed to do over all the workout days in my week: stretch, long, deep, and thoroughly. Although I do a bit of regular stretching, my thoracic spinal area felt a bit restricted. My scoliosis curves to the left, and I could only wonder what would come of it today, as I walked in with fairly tight hips and a restricted lower spine.  was just foam roll and invert, and all I ended up doing was eating, washing dishes, and looking up information such as the address and registration for the big day.

Somehow I am figuring I will have time during the workshop to sit in a long forward fold, and maybe a pigeon stretch, releasing my hips, making them free! In fact, I think I'm daydreaming about it right this minute. What is my issue? I am used to preparing myself for competition days and performance days. I guess it's been a while since I've gotten on this horse, and it feels just a tiny bit foreign to me, now after all of these years. In fact, I think that's what's most exciting about this Certification.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Flexed Hang Test and Tonight's workout.


I am dreading the flexed hang test a little, but I really shouldn't, because I can at least do one pull up. But the thing is, how long can I hang out in a flexed hang? Now, I'm pretty sure I can do longer than 20 seconds, but part of my concern is how they, the HKC judges, will make me hang. For example, will they assist me into it, or will they make me jump into it? Either way I had better try my damndest to get into it a number of ways before the day. I also have this rather ludicrous fear that I will kill all of my adrenaline stores before I even get to the day. This is something I concern myself with because of the fact that pull ups are so darned tough for me! If it's the test of strength, with all of the grueling workouts I've put myself through, it makes me wonder if I've ever been tough, truly...okay okay, this is the wrong moment to doubt myself! It's just another opportunity to get stronger, again.
 I probably should have trained my pull ups a little harder, but me and the girls enjoy a ton of variety, so our workouts are never boring. They are anything but! Sometimes the boys in our gym don't understand why they see us training so often, but that's just because they don't understand the philosophy of the swing! Once it enters your mind, you are stuck....

 Hmph. I act like this is my first rodeo. Now it's time to talk some Smash Team Strength into me. I think tonight is going to be our 100s night.

Flexed hang practice (3 sets x PR...start with at least 20 seconds)
Assisted pull ups x 5 sets of 12 reps
push-ups x 5 sets of 20 reps
Leg press x 5 (pyramid set, 100 reps on 1st set) I start with two total plates (45s) and rake up to 8 or 10 plates. I know I can get 20-25 reps with 8 plates....

front racked or goblet squats, bottom, x 5 sets, at least 25 reps
100 sit ups
Burnout sit up set with halos
1 minute plank holds x 5
And possibly some rowing for my cardio portion. 10-20 minutes max.

...I'm not married to doing this whole adventure, but if it works out to rock the whole thing, I'm down.

This workout will give my palms a rest from swinging. I think Wednesday I'll run a straight swing and snatch test, looking through my requirements and just see where I'm at.

Lead Feet and Stone Arms

Memorial day gave me more time to sleep. It almost seemed like a bad idea.

Because I typically stay up to write, I end up getting less sleep than the average population, and that only works out sometimes, not all the time. This leads me to spend the days off sleeping, which produces a bit of a lazy sort of mindset. It seems that I can still pull myself to the gym...but when I do, it becomes a leadfoot session, the most difficult session in the world.

Then to add insult to injury, I do one of the harder workouts I can think of.

10 2-hand swings
10 1-hand swings
10 front racked squats
1 reverse lunge
swing pass and repeat

The whole thing again for a second set, after resting.

Then we broke apart this set:

 20 goblet squats
20 2-hand high pulls
10 1-hand high pulls
5 single hand snatches
5 double snatches
10 goblet squats/15 second holds in between a high, box, and bottom squat/10 more goblet squats
20 chest presses with leg extension (thanks Pat Flynn for killing us with this set)

As I threw the bell up above my head, I could only think of how heavy I felt throughout the entire set, but I still kept pulling another and another until I found a definite stopping point: the dizzies. On the plus side, Vita Coco has this delicious orange flavored coconut water. It at least tasted amazing during and after that grueling workout.

Only 4 more days until the HKC!! I swung with no gloves yesterday, in an attempt to make sure that I could do it. I was most successful...but I don't think I'll do much swinging without gloves this week, just because I will build callouses yet again. I've got to give them the lemon, pumice and cocoa butter scrub tonight. So excited and maybe a little bit nervous. The idea of tonight's pull up session is staring me down right now.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

HKC Time.

So I signed up.

Through me ran a mixture of "oh crap!" and "Wow I'm awesome" and "What ever will I do if I don't pass?" and "What the hell are you doing?" and "I got this!!!" and "I've been training so long. Maybe I am overtrained?" "I wanna cry, I'm so excited!!"

So that about sums it up.

I ran to the gym that night after sharing my excitement with my friends. It's funny though. The two people I thought would be interested in checking into the certification were two trainers, and they actually tried to say all of these negative messages and tapes running through their skull, ready to discount the next cert, it being a bite off the last one. Well I happen to see these guys as the real deal, and I've been studying them for some time, and I couldn't be more pleased than to be training with them.

Anywho, I went in with my Smash Team girls, and we did a five set routine with 10 pullups, 10 pushups, 50 situps, 10 single forward leans, 10 double kettle squats, and 5 minutes of rowing. After the fifth set, we wanted to poke each other's eyes out.

Some of this may be nerves toward the big day. I just hope my minimum requirements are ready. I really don't have anything to worry about, but sometimes it's fun to kick up some adrenaline. I can't wait!!!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Oh Look! A Running Rant.

I forgot how darn tough it is to run.

I mean seriously. Running takes patient, pounding, and skill, maybe even talent. There was this time in my life when I ran marathons, but it hasn't been in years. I usually leave running to the pros these days but I have to start my cardio stint back since I went to the doctor. You see, what the doctor told me kind of irritated me, besides the fact that I had a few extra carbs this weekend of a rather naughty kind. And once you get naughty, sometimes one can spiral. Lucky for me I have some form of discipline.

Anyway, back to the doctor, who told me about my blood pressure. She had the nerve to say it was normal, and that my heart rate was a whopping 75 bpm! It's never been that in the history of my life. After seeing anywhere from 45 to 64, I thought that maybe I should throw just a little bit of cardio back into my life, and it doesn't stop with the good 40 minutes of walking and mild jogging. I only wish to use the jogging for gearing myself up a little, but not to the point where I am running hours again. That was mildly excessive.

So I'm over the notion or concern of eating into my muscle tissue. I know that this is going to be another fun exercise with carbohydrates and balancing my life between the two extremes, but it sure is easy to train on moderate carbs. I don't know what it will be to run on moderate carbs but so far, my body seems to want to adapt to anything.

Now I'm heading to the gym to run a quick pull up, push up, plank and swing practice...nothing fancy tonight. Besides, I have no idea how I will even feel just yet. Either way, I'll feel accomplished when it's done.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Road to HKC.

How do I love and stress out thee? Let me count the ways...I've just spent time blogging instead if the usual Saturday morning yoga session, my style. However, for some reason, this is proving to be okay because I needed apparently to carve some time out for writing, as evidenced by the gaping holes in time between blog posts. This must end.

This post runs on much like the procrastination of my next pull up session, in preparation for the HKC. I'm gathering the money for it and commiting today, offering up a block that could potentially last if I don't see this moment as a window of opportunity. Although I'd be doing it on borrowed money, hitting the ground for clients has got to be my point of focus after this cert. just a few good clients could be the difference in my outcomes.

The HKC cert is in June. Who knows? These top guys and gals may be interested enough in me to notice my work and to want more from this experience of the Connie. Hey! Though it's a humorous thought, you never really know how you are impacting a person at times, until they just come out and tell you...anywho, I think my mindless ramble has a bit to do with the nervousness surrounding my success with this cert. I throw a lot of food on my plate to consume, and this is yet another beast mastering gauntlet I am asking myself to undergo, as if I haven't had enough challenges this year. Well it comes to my attention that swinging this wrecking ball of dynamic change is so symbolic with the initiation of strength that the hard style Kettlebell Cert seems to represent.

I do look forward into the future with faith that HKC will bring me extra success as a fitness professional on a higher plane, a larger playing field. I notice how hard it is to get into this larger field of consciousness with everything and it almost threatens to seize me up again and take me off course of what I've already found to be most valuable in my life. It would be a major disservice to miss this portal. I'd better jump thru.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Picture Taking and Leanness Making.

I'm about to get downright brave and bold, and share my latest goals with you.

Now, what's in it for me, I wonder, to announce my latest mental and physical challenge to you? To show you I'm a warmblooded human who wants to share my life and real talk with you. I also want to be somehow held accountable for my desire to become a more complete and accomplished woman. Next thing is, I think most people need a challenge that provides them with some inspiration to reach their goals. So many people have inspired me, and now I'll prove that they really did change my life, by them sharing their stories with me.

I've always been athletic and artistic. This led to my heart splitting into pieces when I realized I couldn't serve two competition teams: one for dancing, and one for track and field, so I had to choose, and I chose to dance. Had I known the potential I had as a 220s sprinter, I may have gone that route and life would have been a little altered...but the magic of the creative process as a dancer sent me soaring to highs I never thought I'd reach.

Cut to my current state of being.  So I never was encouraged to rock out my body, but I've always been fit and active. Now that I've reached the 40 marker, my energy and ability, including strength and endurance, has gone through the roof! I had to cut down on the cardio, because it had gotten excessive. Now I just opt to do a lot of kettlebell and HIIT training, with a little cardio activity interspered.

The biggest challenge had always been to get a ripped body, and because of such stringent routines many put themselves through, I decided to forgo that for as long as possible....but I was never sure how long I could stay away. I had told myself repeatedly that it wasn't for me, it was not as important as my health, that it was a vanity contest. Was I harboring resistance for a sport I never felt I could really stride in? Now that I am in the disciplined mindset and wouldn't mind seeing a clear cut six-pack to go with my meditative status, I changed my eating and am ready to rock out a leaner physique. I realized just recently too, that I don't really mind what I weigh, as long as I am looking lean and mean and blissful, all at once. I don't think it's too much to ask, and what's more, is that I can see it. I am ready for the success that comes with it, the feeling of triumphing over what could be considered something of a lifelong goal.

The conversation continues.

Long time no kettle chat

I've been up at the wee hours of the morning doing so many things. Tonight I cleaned my kitchen and prepped Monday's lunch. I'm pretty proud. Even more importantly, I've begun a heavier workout routine with the girls and I. It's called Don't stop Til you get crippled. Yeah, we went right past the "feel the burn" mark and escalated into "this is sheer nonsense/stop the insanity." But I'm still standing. Barely.

We also began adding some extra workout days, so lifting has become even more manifest. Sunday's routine consisted of flexed and contracted hanging, assisted pull ups, and sung to the total of about 11 sets. Then we went and killed our leg press, pyramiding up to the point of doom: 100 reps with 90, 75 reps with 180 lbs and 35 reps with 270 lbs. We only got in three sets until the girls stopped me and pulled me off the workout floor.

I also began loading aminos and beta alanine, which really helps me with muscle recovery. At this point it's a godsend, since our workouts have expanded...gotta get ready for the HKC. It's my goal, and I need to chat about both the beta alanin and the HKC in a coming post. Until then, may your weights feel extremely heavy, and your muscles show with pride.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday Night Playtime

Kelly and I decided to hit the gym with this bang-up bruiser. Simple to remember what comes next, but tough because you know it's gonna hurt!
Make sure you're using enough weight, but not to the point where you can't finish the warm-ups...Kelly used 25, I used 30. If we wanted to end the workout sooner, we both would have gone up by 5 pounds.

Warm-ups are always interesting because they are supposed to be easy. Well, not this one.

50 kettle swings
50 prayer squats (deep...go all the way down)

Round one
10-1hand swings (pass to other side)
10-2hand swings
10 cleans each side

Round Two
20-double cleans. We held 25 in one hand, and 30 in the other. 10 then switch weight so it's even. I'd say this was harder than swinging with two of the same weight, since there is some cross lateral compensation involved. That's what I would call it, anyway.

Alternate this set with incline leg press. Um, we used 4 plates on each side for a total of 8 plates. That's 360 pounds. Now press it 20 times per set. Make sure the amount you choose is doable and yet tough by its finish. You should not be looking forward to rep 15 and wanting to seriously stop by 18. It should be tough to get out those last few reps...or it's not heavy enough.

20-incline leg presses with a good amount of weight.
Oh, I forgot to tell you. Do Round two for a total of five sets. You will have done 100 leg presses and 100 double swings in sets of 20.

We were going to throw in some racked crunches, weighted on both ends (one arm hanging, holding a kettle, the other hand holds a racked kettle and you're sidelying with feet aligned heel to toe) on the hyperextension bench, 15 reps each side for 3 sets, but we were lost after those two rounds.

We cooled down with a 20 minute low level walk. It felt pretty good to reground and prep for the evening. Tuesday's workout is going to be about some long cardio and heavier abs, maybe a little bit of HIIT training.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Tonight's workout and energy field sensitivity=bad combo.

Once Jessy and I found a lovely spot on the crazily crowded floor tonight, we began our solid-packed endurance burn workout with a 40 pound straight bar, a 30 pound kettlebell, a 7.5 pound set of dumbbells and a hyperextension bench for some suspended ab work. (I'm thinking of that pull up strength I don't seem to have in full force just yet. Going for it now with some crazy exercises.)

We started with our straight bar. We once again went for 20 reps per set and 2 to 3 sets, each long heart action circuit lasting long enough to want it to stop.  Here's more information on peripheral heart action training circuit: http://www.muscleandstrength.com/articles/phat-training-fat-loss

 For some reason, this workout leaves us a bit winded and just this side of nauseous, but feeling depleted in a good sort of way.

20 deep squats
20 shoulder presses (elbows in, focus on triceps)
20 deadlifts
20 bar rows
20 bicep curls
20 tricep straight arm pressbacks
20 lunges (bar bottom load)
20 squat to press
30 swings to cleans
15 hyperextensions  with 35 pound plate
12 kettlebell obliques on hyper extension bench (bottom and top loaded...racking a bell and in the other hand, letting it hang....ugh such nasty kettle creations.)
10 bell hells (that's what I call 'em) you lay with your back over the end of the bench where you would normally put your legs, lay back until parallel to the floor and single arm chest press that weight up!)

Now in the middle of our workout, we feel this huge surge of super gross energy, and knew that something was way off. I walked away from that corner and instantly feel better. So someone had latched their caustic energy onto me! Oh no, this could not continue. You see, sometimes people have this projective energy, and they throw their energy about haphazardly. For example, if a person is super positive when you are feeling low, you feel energized by this. But if this same strong person is angry and is not able to contain energy, you end up getting drained by it. This is the short explanation. And on top of this, said person may have even been focusing his attention on meat market options, which, if this energy is unwanted, can be an even deeper source of drain.

The moral of this story is, if you have a big energy field, and you're in great company, getting an amazing workout, and you suddenly feel drained even though you timed your meals correctly, there's this other reason you might try looking at. More on this to follow.

The moral of this

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Work out, or eat? Part Two

Now this one is for those fitness enthusiasts and athletes who actually try their best to eat clean and train, but aren't properly loading their meals during the day, and then suddenly it's time to work out. Hm. What to do, what to do...

Now the closer you get to your workout, the less you should eat. Your body does not want to work that hard on a meal digestion and fuel output and fat metabolism and muscle regeneration and blood detoxification. In fact, it can't. The body only wants to do a very limited number of additional actions on its road to keeping homeostasis. So it makes a decision to digest the food, thereby using all of your available energy for digestion, leaving very little for your workout. To add to this, if it contains high fats, it becomes even more unusable to the body for the workout, leaving you feeling less worked out yet more fatigued than ever.

Ideally, your bigger meal should be about 3 or 4 hours from your workout. This should be your last substantial meal, given this theory. Any food you take in should become easier to digest and assimilate into the body down to that last hour (protein shake or very small easily digested meal). I have been okay with a small portion of nuts or an apple 2 hours prior to my lift session, but I feel best on a protein shake (liquid nutrition) 1 hour before and coconut water during my workout. This seems to be the optimal intake window.

Some dietary theories suggest that you eat very little during the day, have a protein shake before, and then eat a hearty meal after your workout. Others suggest that you load a majority of your proteins and limited healthy carbs (depending on the theory is what type of carb that may be suggested) every 3 or so hours until your workout. What I'm finding is, each person needs to find their groove, and experiment to see how optimal the workout session feels. If you feel heavy, you ate too much. If you feel lightheaded, you didn't consume enough. If you feel pretty energetic and balanced, and can perform your regular program with a bit of energy to spare, you may have found your program. Keep in mind that sleep and type of food plays a factor in your outcomes. Find that sweet spot. Now stick to it.

Work out, or eat?

I often hear: "I need to lose 60 pounds first. Then I can begin working out."

Really?? Why??

Is there some kind of reason you can't work out and eat right at the same time?

I don't know when this idea took hold, but it seems to be the case that some people feel as if they must lose body fat first before actually going in to shed pounds. Now in my years as a trainer and fitness instructor, I may have possibly heard everything in the book, from not wanting to get bulky, to feeling they are too big to burn calories. Now if that same person told me they had a lot of joint pain, I'd completely understand that angle. But being able to do some light exercise at least, walking for example, is always an important first step in the changing of the metabolic pathways that can lead to an even heavier or lighter state. The decision to stay stagnant, or get moving, is up to the discretion of the exerciser.

When I think of this topic, I am also contemplating those who either eat really well and hardly move, or work out severely, and eat very poorly. This is a common pattern amongst many trainers, who have a tendency to overtrain their bodies. Many people do not even realize (or care) that they are overtraining, and have been, for an extended period of time. When injury or deep fatigue sets in (or a combination of both), they begin to realize their folly. A few common symptoms of overtraining are deep muscle fatigue, inability to perform a set of exercises one is normally capable of completing, soreness after every workout, soreness, stiffness or pain in a localized area of the body, deep, insistent hunger that becomes hard to kill, which leads to overeating and weight gain. On top of this, that same person will go smoke a cigarette, order a pizza and drink 5 beers with friends that evening, as a "reward" to offset their efforts, because after all, that's why they train (so they can eat whatever they'd like). Does this make that food or substance any less bad for your internal organs? (yes, I'm also talking to my hard gainers as well. You CAN eat clean and gain.)

Inflammation is the cause of pain, and silent inflammation is the long term, non-painful cause of illness such as obesity and diabetes, which can eventually become painful and lead to death. Even the most avid exercising trainer should know that this extended state where the body is forced to ingest damaging foods, will eventually manifest illness. It's the eventual status, that puts refined and processed foods on alert, or at least should, with physically knowledgeable people.

So what do we say about people who eat healthy but don't exercise? Well here's the truth. If you want to alter the look of the body, eating healthy won't build muscle, and if you want healthy physiology, lifting weights won't necessarily produce a clean liver and gut, but may offer you a better chance of moving that damaging food through the gut and out of the body. So then, what would the body think if that damaging food wasn't put in there in the first place? Now that could work. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Circuit Burnout.

Kelly and I did this ridiculous workout tonight. Both of us walked out clutching our stomachs.
We took a diversion from the usual kettlebell action (I cain't quitchu, kettlebell!!) and decided to put a fat burning spin on our workout that I hadn't run in some time. We did a total body circuit consisting of about 8 exercises. The goal was to do 20 reps per exercise for as many sets as we could muster, as fast as we could. We only really got through 2 sets, but that's 8 exercises, 20 reps each, 2 sets of ridiculousness, with fairly heavy, yet somehow sustainable, weight. The thing that really sucks about the workout, is that you need to just plow through it, no stops and no thought bubbles. Just push til you boink.

Chest press: total of 60 pounds of free weight (30 each hand)
Kettle Tricep extension: 15 pounds (1 side at a time)
Standing reverse flye: 40 pounds (20 each hand)
Standing bicep curls: 40 pounds (20 each hand)
Standing Shoulder press: 40 (20 each)
Front Squats: 30 pound kettlebell
Kettle abs on hyperextension machine: 25 pound kettlebell
Deadlifts with 40 and 45 pound kettles in each hand

This was a crazy, nonsensical workout! We were cooked in about 30 minutes. That's what I'm talking about!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Enjoying my 100s workout.


Above is the blog I looked at to guide me, and start working this deceptively difficult workout (for the experienced exerciser). I don't think most know how many reps they are accomplishing until they try this. Then...they don't know how tough it is to get 100 reps in under 5 minutes. Talk about working up to the highest level of intensity possible! How many people do that?? I can count them on one hand.

I altered it a bit for me and my girls. I'm not much into jump rope lately (or ever. How will I ever do Parkour? haha) We started with some glute activation: deck squats, (rock the spine and come to standing),  T-raise (body goes parallel, on one foot, in yoga it's Warrior III), pistol squats (oh my gosh these are so hard!) and about 20 push-ups. (If I'm feeling crazy, maybe I'll raise this number to 100.) Then it's 100 sit-ups. This right here, is enough of a workout for most people....but then add those swings and wait for the fun to begin.

According to Master RKC Phil Ross, you perform 100-2 hand swings, (to me that means holding one kettle with two hands), 100 bottom up squats, (turn the bell upside down and hold it by its horns. Add a mint sprig. And maybe an obituary. Enjoy.) then 100 kettlebell snatches. Well let's just stop right there.

...100 snatches??? Now I can't say any of my workouts have seen quite that many snatches, but maybe today is that day. I'm not willing to give up, that's for sure. But in reality, if I've gotten to 30 snatches during this workout, I'll be surprised. I should probably count that tonight.

Kelly, Jess and I will begin recording our workouts with a bit more diligence. I cleaned up my nutrition, and now I'm cleaning up and intensifying my workout. Pray for me, wish me luck, and please send high vibrations, spells, invocations and meditations. I'm gonna need all of it, because the quintessential athlete draws from all wells to drink. Until then, happy workouting. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Kettlebell Valentine: Birth of a new Workout Era

This is part two of my Valentine post about how I first fell in love with training with kettlebells.

So there I was, the healthy eating vegetarian, doing yet another set of preacher curls and another lunge-curl-press in my set of 6 to 12 exercises, with my NASM cert, yoga certs, AAFA certs...realizing that I didn't feel any bit stronger, and that it was all I could take. I wasn't a size two after hours of training. haha. I could not sustain my strength with 8 mid-to-highly impactive aerobic style workout classes I was teaching many hours per week, and this was a reduced schedule. Not funny anymore. My body had been through enough, and it was time for a real change with real results.

When I began teaching for World Gym, I no longer taught with music. Even though I was initially attached to my music and sad about this, I realized that it brought me into a new world of exercise opportunity. It was then that I restructured how I taught all my fitness classes, and began to bring a level of evolution into my teaching. When Mike and I fell in love with learning bellwork, I realized I had to change. When I failed at keeping a regular bell cycle, and kept defaulting to what I knew with no return on my investment, I felt forced to change...one...last...time...

It was then my new quest, that I dragged the girls onto, kicking and screaming. There was no way they knew what working out hard meant!! I don't even think I truly knew anymore, since my body had adapted to everything else. I started really researching kettles and bought Mike and I a book, Enter The Kettlebell.

When you become consumed with something you feel very passionate about, it overtakes your life, and you begin to not only wonder how you lived your life without it, but everyone catches your vibe and follows you up on your path to the enlightenment your passion teaches you.

The lights went on. Working out became a challenge again, a real journey. I was excited to get to the floor. I even named our workout cliche Smash Team, based on this transition from a snatch we do that just looks nasty. (I call it wrecking ball). But if another person came up to me calling the kettlebell a cardio workout, I was going to swing the thing at them! No! It is NOT just another cardio workout, and who ruined this sport's good name? It, to me, is an athletic practice that improves all other feats in one's world. It even combines yogic practice into the lift. (In fact, John Du Cane of RKC, lived in a yoga community in India for a bit.) The more I practiced, the more Mike showed me his findings and I mine, the more we noticed how much there was to learn, and how far ahead of the curve and simultaneously, innocently ignorant we had been, about it all.

I knew of Steve Cotter and his training style, but nothing like what I know now. Using his technique to rebuild my swing was potent information. It really helps to get into the research of a sport and find the art and science. What was originally considered "cardio" at that point, turns it into something real, untouchable, poetry in motion. Learning more made everything I did before, almost obsolete. 

Enter 2013. Enter "Resilient," a DVD by Pavel. Again, it was shifting our workout paradigm. Swinging had gotten us all through some hard times. It became the clarifying moment in my day to swing that bell. Even yoga wasn't making the same impact anymore. It was the integration of the two forces that began to provide for me the best benefit. I'm not knocking the years of yogic practice that I still feel is so highly valuable. I just saw the kettlebell as a tool for yogic expansion...maybe by the time Mike and I are ready to enter the RKC, or IKFF, we will finally be ready to start at a beginner's point. Hm. It's beginning to sound a  lot like yoga.

My New Kettlebell Valentine

At first I thought Mike would be a little jealous that I chose my kettlebell to be my Valentine...but then I saw him buying a card for HIS kettlebell and hugging it, and that's when I knew that all was forgiven. Hee hee. Only kidding about the card.

It's time to tell the story of how our love affair began, just in time for  Valentine's Day. ...I'm still talking about my kettlebell and the workout it gives. When I was teaching for Total Woman for the last 8 years, I was always on the cutting edge of fitness, giving my students what killer sessions they could bear. They were getting the best workout out there, every time they came to my classes, because that's how much work I put into my sessions. I was so pumped and so prepared, other instructors would often mention how much they liked the way I did things. I was also the first instructor in that building to not only teach for 3 hours a week straight, but to offer my students a kettle-style workout. Of course I found out later, that I was doing it all terribly, terribly wrong.

...Okay so I'm exaggerating...a little bit... because when you feel the explosive power of a kettlebell swing, and then you feel the incredible rush of feeling the power course through your veins when you actually get a rep correct for the first time, you finally understand, after years of solid diligence, what it means to throw 50+ pounds of iron through the air. Thing is, you probably didn't even get THAT rep right. All you know, is that you loved trying. I daresay that is a might bit different than any staid, standardized weightlifting workout routine. I almost want to cry, thinking of all the time wasted, not building my body into healthy kettlebell submission. The bell has truly transformed the way my body looks and thinks.

I have to give Mike some credit for my inspiration. We had many talks about the bells, and how we wanted to incorporate them into our lives. Then after a series of discussions, World Gym, our teaching and training home, agreed to buy a set. Once this began, they asked Mike to teach an exclusive kettle class, and proceeded to buy more kettles! We were absolutely stoked!! (Mike more than I, at the time. I didn't know any better!) Once the kettles landed, it was a choice: me or the bell. It was so incredibly difficult that it turned me off, after training hard for several months. I gave up!! But lucky for me, there's nothing like failing to assist you in your greatest achievements, and I think I am, two years later, finding that to be true for me.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Our New Little Kettlebell Bundle of Joy!!

Mike told me I needed to find a name for our new baby.

Yes, my shiny new kettlebell is here! It's like a new car, or a shiny new penny; unblemished, smooth and polished, ready for action. What a swinger my kettle is! I'd be surprised if I didn't carry my portable gym with me. It really is a moving monster. It may not be the lightest piece of exercise equipment ever, but it certainly is a greater workout than using exercise bands. Imagine the 10 minute blasts I can do with this gift from the Russian workout gods! http://www.dragondoor.com/shop-by-department/kettlebells/

The thing is, once you begin swinging with this baby, not only will you feel muscles you've never felt, you will experience pain you've never had...then a glory for lifting you've never possessed, not until this moment. Rocking the bells is a completely different athletic experience than what is accomplished with traditional weight training. My lifts at least doubled in every way, including how much I could lift, how long, and how many times per week. I stopped wasting too much time on muscle wasting cardio workouts and began focusing on what was most important: bringing all components of strength, endurance and power together in one powerful workout that may last you from 10 minutes to 45 if you train hard enough. The more you pack into a short amount of time, the better results you get.

It's so worth it, I have to let this post sync in before I tell you more. Just go look at the site and find their blog. If it doesn't resonate with you, hang in there. I'll hook you.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Declining progress means need for Change.

So you're working out for 6 weeks. You've eaten well, exercised with intense regularity, and suddenly, you begin feeling tired. You're not getting as much out of your workouts, and this can sometimes spell a decline in your fitness results. You get fatigued and you begin to feel discouraged, so you sit a few sessions out. Essentially, this is not the right thing to do.
Instead, it's time to reassess your program. Before you change anything about your healthy eating or fitness plan, you need to assess your physical state of being. Keep in mind that you have fascia wrapping your muscle bundles together. These layers of superficial fascia have memory and pliability. If you are physically testing your limits, at a certain point your body will protest. The fascia will tighten and restrict the muscle fibers from properly responding to the load..in other words, the muscle misfires and you lose a rep, or even an entire set of exercises, because the muscle has done everything it can. Since weight training is about time under tension, the more tension you can apply to the muscle, the better it can build. When something happens to decrease the muscle's ability to grow, such as need for stretching, increase in proteins or more rest time, the workouts begin to suffer.
Self myofascial release is a technique applied to the soft tissues to relax contracted muscles, increase circulation and encourage lymphatic drainage. It improves flexibility, function, performance, and reduces the incidence of injury. The kinetic chain is a kinesiological system of movement in which a variety of elements are involved: when one of these elements is off, the kinetic chain decreases in optimization. This can throw the body into a cycle called the cumulative injury cycle.

So next time your body's ability to perform is reduced, pay attention to it!!! ....That is all. For now.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The little bits that change your workout.

We focus quite a bit on the practice of getting to the gym and fighting for results. Though weight lifting, interval training and cardio exercise can be each rather important, it is paramount to understand that exercise and nutrition are based on one's own personal bio-individuality. I believe that this principle applies in exercise as well as nutrition, for the different types of benefits each diet and each workout genre espouse. Now the question is usually, "which one is right for me?" You'd want the answer from a professional standpoint, and a professional will surely give thorough, educated, profound guidance. Thing is though, the truest answer will come from within your being.

Getting the right balance of these pieces in are going to be a top priority. For the strength gains I've made, and the variety of challenging exercises I use, I've built a lot of muscle that I'm very proud of. I just have one problem: when people lift for strength, they get strong. Now I need to lift to get lean, and that's not always as fun, and sometimes feels like it's cutting into my strength training. Sure, they could all be done on different days, and actually, that would probably help a lot. Or one could train in phases: an endurance phase, strength phase, power, and integration, then start over. I do all of this with a kettlebell or two. For now, long and slow cardio, 45 min to an hour, 2 hours minimum per week. This will definitely change.

Now I haven't even gotten to the meat of why I referred to the little bits in the title. This is because the little bits are the parts that get lost in a workout schedule, the bits that ultimately provide far more benefit at times than the actual fitness routine itself. They are: foam rolling, rubber ball rolling, proprioceptive training, glute activation, holistic chiropractic care, and inversion. I think I'll start a new page and begin with the ice cream of the dessert world: foam rolling. Stay tuned.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

To Cardio or not to Cardio?

At present, I must admit that I am fully vested in a life of swinging kettles. But even though this burns a ton of fat, I am at present, in a bit of a quandary. Am I doing enough cardio? I come from cardio queendom, and so as a woman who now fully enjoying her deep strength and ability to push for incredible strength gains I had never seen in myself before, I am officially nervous about going back to a life of too much cardio. Also, since I have changed my intake, working out has taken on a new meaning. To blow my opportunities for building muscle on cardio, is at present, where my head is, though I'm not sure I'm thinking about this the right way.

I've always encouraged my clients to take a balanced perspective when it came to getting everything in, both exercise and nutrient wise. Both have really increased my enjoyment of the discipline. I also taught a million classes and was told by my acupuncturist to lay off the cardio, told by my running coach to not run more than 6 miles, and then by my cardiologist, that I had brachycardia, and drinking coffee to keep my heart rate up, none of which sounded too healthy.

With all of these physical cues, I decided to completely cut back and dedicate myself to kettlebell training. However, I need to cut weight. I know that I'll figure it out, but what is in me to do? I feel I have about 15 pounds of fat to lose. Everything is getting an adjustment, but firstly, my mindset, attitude and intentions, need to deeply shift. Thank goodness for me, I am very flexible and compassionate with myself, and will give myself some space and time to figure this puzzle piece out. It's becoming more and more important, considering my success directly impacts my clients, though they love me just the way I am, for which I am so grateful.